The West Africa Examination council (WAEC) has finally bowed to pressure from Muslims and has adjusted its examination time table so that it does not clash with Muslims prayer time.
Earlier, Muslims had reacted to the time table of the November examinations for private candidates. Some subjects were scheduled between 2pm and 4pm and also during Jumat. The examination body finally reviewed the time table and made some adjustments.
Mr. Charles Eguridu, the head of the national office said the adjustments made affects papers scheduled for 25th of the September which has been declared a public holiday to celebrate the Eid-ul-Kabir (Eid-ul-Adha) festival.
He said: “Our attention has been brought to this concern and we decided to effect some amendment in the ongoing WAEC timetable to address the concerns of our Muslim brothers.
“All the papers that were supposed to start within 2pm are to be moved forward. We are supposed to have exam on the 25th and that day has been declared Eid Kabir so we have decided to reschedule the exam meant for that day to 3rd October.”
Eguridu added that the examination body was open to the yearnings of the people and was committed to doing what is good for the interest of candidates. He said the examination for Friday 18th (Government), earlier scheduled for 2.00pm has been shifted to 2.30pm – 5.30pm while the one for 25th (Further Mathematics) was postponed to 10th October with same time from 9.30am to 4.30pm for paper one and two.
Also for Friday 2nd October (Basic Electricity), the time is from 2pm 4pm to 3pm – 5pm and for 9th (French) is from 2pm -4.15pm to 3.15pm-5.15pm respectively. The November examination, popularly referred to as GCE is considered an alternative to the May/June examination. Most candidates enroll for the exam possibly after failing to make all necessary papers during the May examination.
Rennaissance recalled that many Muslim groups including the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, and Musim Students Society of Nigeria, MSS had protested to WAEC on the lopsidedness of the time-table, accusing the examination body of insensitive to Muslims rights that would have been denied of observing their religious duty on the affected Fridays.
The examination body had initially refused to admit it made mistakes or trampled on Fundamental Rights of Muslim candidates. Its initial argument was that the examinations cover the whole of the West African region and that the times fixed for the Nigerian papers were not 1.00pm to 3.000pm but 2.00pm to 4.00pm.
But MURIC has questioned whether “WAEC or any of his staff in the whole of West Africa does not know the time Muslims observe Jum’ah? It also queried why a public institution which has operated in Nigeria for decades would feign ignorance of the time Muslims go for Jum’ah service on Fridays which commences between 1.00 pm and 1.30 pm and ends around 2.30 pm.”
WAEC however laid the controversy to rest with the latest shift in the examination time table.
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